Person of the Week: Kevin Lee

Our Person of the Week Kevin Lee found what he calls his purpose in life several years ago.

ASHEVILLE, N.C. -- Our Person of the Week found what he calls his purpose in life several years ago.

Kevin Lee never imagined where it would take him. It's making a difference for thousands of children in Ecuador.

Kevin owns Happy Jack's along Tunnel Road. He's passionate about breakfast, his restaurant's specialty. It comes from 36 years in food service, a tough business that takes just about all he has.

"We're paying bills, we're paying bills," Kevin said. "I've been working for free since we started."

It makes being a restaurant owner all the more remarkable because though Kevin is not rich from his profession, he gives as much as he can to what he calls his purpose in life. He found a need among the children of Ecuador.

"We gave away 2,400 soccer balls and Barbie dolls this year," Kevin said.

Over the years, he has raised thousands of dollars from donations and given thousands of his own money to buy soccer balls, Barbie dolls and what he calls Kevi Bears for children in need there. He does it for a reason that may surprise you.

"I grew up poor and I was hungry a lot, and when I would play baseball I would forget about how hungry I was," Kevin recalled.

He give toys to fight hunger. It's something to bring joy and diversion from a life of doing without.

"When you're playing your sport, you get to dream about a better tomorrow," Kevin said. "You really do forget about the fact that you are hungry for a while."

He found the need in Ecuador when he met his wife Betty there.

"I feel very happy. My soul is happy when Kevin and me made the charity. We helping, lots and lots of kids."

For a man who often had just one meal a day as a child, there's irony that he feeds so many now. "Normally we wouldn't eat breakfast," he said.

Nowadays, breakfast is what he does best. But what you won't find on the menu is another need he's feeding, away from Happy Jack's. He's raising the spirits of the children of Ecuador.

"He is my hero. He is my hero. I love you," Betty said as she threw him a kiss.

To get in contact with Kevin Lee and learn more about his nonprofit, go to his Facebook page.

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